Ishrat encounter: The plot thickens after CBI chargesheet

The CBI, which is probing the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case, is yet to crack the mystery of four people whose names figure in the chargesheet it filed in a court here early this month.

According to CBI, Meraj Idrisi, Javabhai, Asad and Owaish played curious roles in the entire saga but have not been traced so far.

Meraj and Java were reportedly close associates of Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, who was killed along with Ishrat and two others in the June 15, 2004 police encounter near Ahmedabad. Asad and Owaish were made out to be informers of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB).The CBI is completely silent on the whereabouts of these four men. While Meraj and Java at least have eyewitnesses, the agency is still to find someone who has actually "seen" or "heard" Asad and Owaish.Meraj Idrisi, a resident of Ibrahimpur in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh, has been shown in various witness testimonies as having met Javed in Dubai. Meraj's wife Salma Banu told CBI that soon after her marriage in February 2004, she was taken to Mumbai for "sightseeing" where she stayed at Meraj's aunt's place. "In April 2004, one Javed of Pune and another lady named Ishrat Jahan came to my house (Mumbra at Meraj's aunt's place). Javed was introduced to me by my husband as his friend who he knew when he was in Dubai," CBI's chargesheet quotes Salma as saying. Salma also talks about another guest, identified as Salimbhai. "Salimbhai was having an injury on his shoulder...he was wearing bandage on his body." In June 2004, Meraj reportedly told Salma that he had to go to Dubai urgently. Two days after Meraj's departure, a team of police officers came to her house looking for her husband and took away some papers. However, since then, Meraj never returned to his village.

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